What do you get when you combine solar concentrators with “waste heat generators” build to convert heat into electricity? If you’re in Hawai’i, you get something like Holaniku at Keahole Point. (Holaniku is Hawai’ian for “a location that has everything required for self-sufficiency,” according to the manufacturer of the solar concentrators used for the project.)
The solar concentrators are made by Sopogy, an innovative solar company based in Hawai’i. The 2 MW capacity solar thermal plant is located on the western side of the Big Island, on desert land. A thousand solar units heat liquid which is then stored in large tanks.
The Green Machine(s)
Turning that heat into electricity is the job of twin ElectraTherm Green Machines, which are themselves innovations in engineering. The Green Machine has won several awards, including Best of Show from the 2007 Geothermal Energy Association and was selected as one of Popular Science magazine’s “Best of What’s News” in 2008.
The machine was designed to turn “waste heat” from industrial processes into electricity. The unique idea here is combining the efficiency of the co-generator with the solar thermal technology (which efficiently converts solar radiation into heat).
It’s innovations like these that are powering the renewable energy revolution.